Pregnancy week by week



Dealing with bedwetting


Up to the age of five, bed wetting is considered normal, and treatment is not usually given. It is not easy to know why some children take longer to be dry ay night than others. However, bedwetting is not due to laziness or lack of will power. Although this may be stressful for both you and your child, try not to lose your patience. You should be concerned if your child is still wetting after the age of six in a girl and seven in a boy, or if your child starts wetting after having learned to be dry. The problem may be caused by a number of factors. Discuss this with your doctor.

Children are more likely to wet their bed if they are extremely tired of if they drink too much fluid in the evening and don’t pass urine before going to bed. In most cases, wetting is stress related, especially if it occurs in a child who was previously dry. For instance, it can occur after birth of a sibling, or a change in school or house. Wetting is not naughty behavior and you shouldn’t blame your child, because he cannot control himself and being told off just makes it worse. Your child is more likely to learn to control their bladder if you are relaxed and calm about it. Remember your child will learn at his own pace and praise rather than punishment will help. There are several things you can do if your four or five year old is wetting the bed:

  •  Try not to get angry or irritated with your child if he is wetting the bed. Stay calm even if it is middle of the night.
  •  Protect the mattress with a good waterproof protective cover.

  •  Some children are afraid to get up at night. A night light or potty in their room can help.

  •  Make sure your child goes to the toilet immediately before going to bed and don’t give him drinks for an hour before bedtime.

  • Make a star chart or give praise and rewards for regularly going to the toilet or having dry pants or a dry bed.

  • Cutting back on fluids will not help as your child’s bladder will simply adjust to hold less. It is better for your child to drink around six or seven cups of fluid during the day so that their bladder learns to cope with a healthy amount of fluid. Avoid giving your child drinks with caffeine, such as tea, cola and chocolate, before they go to bed as these can stimulate the kidneys to produce more urine.

  • Attend to any stresses or worries that your child has. If any underlying emotional problems can’t be resolved, you should consult your doctor.

  • Constipation can also irritate the bladder at night and cause a child to wet the bed. Making sure that your child is drinking enough fluid and eating enough fiber can help to make sure they are not constipated

  • If a child who has been dry starts to wet the bed again, it may be a sign that they have a bladder infection, constipation or threadworms. See your doctor to rule out any infection.

Try to keep calm and relaxed without showing signs of anxiety or strain. Praise your child when they sleep through the night. Do not scold if they do not. Try to develop an understanding of how they feel and whether they are worried by their wetting. Reassure your child that he can share any worries with you.

                                    Constipation and soiling

If your child is not emptying their bowels at least three times a week and their stools are often hard and difficult to pass, they may be constipated. Their stools may also look like little pellets. Soiled pants can be another sign, as soft stools (diarrhea) may leak around the hard constipated stools. Too much milk and too little fiber can cause constipation. It may also suggest that your child is worried or anxious about something.

If your child gets constipated, they may find it hard to pass stools. This creates a vicious circle: the more it hurts, the more they hold back, the more constipated they get, and the more it hurts. Even if passing a stool is not painful, once a child is really constipated they will stop wanting to go to the toilet at all.

If the problem is not solved quickly, talk to your doctor. The longer it goes on, the more difficult it can be for your child to get back to normal, so do get help. It might take a while for the treatments your doctor recommends to work, but keep trying until they do.

Once the initial problem is solved, it is important to do everything you can to stop it coming back. The best way to avoid constipation is to make sure your child eats plenty of fiber.  Fruit and vegetables, whole meal bread or chapattis, wholegrain breakfast cereals, and pulses are all good sources. They will also need lots of drink, but don’t give them too much milk or squash as that can actually cause constipation. Exercise also helps.

If changing your child’s diet doesn’t help, try to find out whether there is anything upsetting your child. Perhaps they are afraid of using the potty. Whatever it is, try to reassure them it is okay. It might take some time, but letting your child be with you when you go to the toilet can help. Try to be as relaxed as you can be about it. If the problem persists, talk to your doctor again.

Soiling or Encopresis is an inability to use the toilet reliably to pass bowel motions and is not normal in a child aged over four years. It is much more common in boys. There are many causes. Some children have never learned a normal bowel habit, perhaps because of developmental delay or, in some cases, because they suffer from parental neglect and have never been taught about this. Some children have severe constipation as discussed above which leads to hard stools that are painful to pass. As a result, the child avoids the toilet because he is afraid that it will hurt, so the stools accumulate, making a bigger blockage. It is unusual for there to be an underlying medical cause, but this possibility may need to be investigated by your doctor.

If your child has soiling behavior, you should not criticize him, however upset you may be. He is not to blame. Star charts can be very helpful for younger children. For children with a fear of pain and toilets, reading them a story on the toilet may help, as will getting them to blow balloons while sitting on the toilet-this helps them to push and relax. If the constipation is severe, your doctor will prescribe a stool softener. If your child is stressed or upset, the underlying difficulty needs to be identified and dealt with. If nothing helps you will need to see a specialist.




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